In a letter sent to suppliers, Steve Geppi, founder and chairman of Geppi Family Enterprises which owns Diamond Distributors, outlined the terms under which the distributor would resume payments to publishers and other vendors.The payment plan applies to both Diamond Comic Distributors and Diamond Book Distributors. In addition, Geppi said Diamond senior executives will immediately take a 50% pay cut.
Beginning April 6 publishers and other vendors will “receive 25% of the weekly amount due under your contract terms,” Geppi wrote. The letter continues: “each subsequent week, you will receive a 25% payment of that week's balance due. This reduced payment schedule will continue for 6 weeks, with the remaining 75% due in each of those weeks being deferred. Following that 6-week period, we will begin payment of the deferred balance in equal payments over a 13-week period.”
Diamond Comic Distributors is the largest distributor of comics in North America, and principal distributor to the U.S. comics shop market, while Diamond Book Distributors services the general book trade.
Over the last two weeks Diamond first suspended the distribution of weekly comics to the comics shop market and then suspended payments to publishers, a move originally thought to impact solely the comics shop market. The release of these new payment terms also acknowledges that Diamond Book Distributors has been impacted by the halt in payments to publishers.
Geppi cited “Covid-19's dramatic impact on businesses around the globe," for Diamond’s recent actions. Geppi emphasized that, “while we understand that this will have significant impact on everyone, and the situation could change, we also recognize that our world is in the midst of an unprecedented crisis and aggressive action is necessary.”
Indeed, he said Diamond’s leadership team “is accepting a 50% salary cut, landlords have agreed to rent deferrals, and various other providers of professional services have agreed to defer their payments. Never before have we experienced such a test of our resolve and a demonstration of our commitment to each other.”
“My leadership team is working non-stop in concert with expert consultants and our publisher partners to safeguard the comic industry's future,” Geppi wrote. “Now more than ever we need to come together in support of one another, knowing that these difficult decisions will allow us to emerge from this trying time and thrive once again.”